File puptcrit/puptcrit.0603, message 232

Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 14:02:47 EST
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Another Remarkable Video- Juggler's Smackdown

These jugglers' videos seem to be rattling around the web quite a bit. It  
was first sent to me by someone a day or two before it came up on  Puptcrit.
Very interesting dichotomy between the original creative artist and the  
technically more impressive artist who appears a bit miffed. I found  Greg's 
remarks to be quite insightful.
But we grossly neglect a third artist in the fray, raising a whole bevy of  
other issues. If you have been watching both videos, you have listened to Paul  
McCartney's medley at least twice, and maybe sent it on to a couple of your  
friends. McCartney's cash register should be going ca-ching from all this play 
 and I'll bet he is seeing nothing from it. I wonder what his lawyers have to 
say  about copyright use and the web?!
In a message dated 3/24/2006 12:35:02 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, writes:

I am  enjoying this thread a lot.
Competition between artists IS exciting. It can  be petty but it can also 
move the art form forward.
Picasso and Matisse  were rivals and friends. They kept an eye on each other. 
It was said that  they were so far ahead of everyone else that they were the 
only ones who  truly "got" each others work.

In the world of jazz (and Celtic music  too) there are epic battles.
In the 40s there were battles of the bands,on  the same stage, It sold 
tickets like crazy, and got them all playing their  very best and beyond.

Someone said at the Academy awards the only way  to really judge two actors 
is to have them play the same role. In opera  and ballet and Shakespearean 
theatre this happens- who was the best  Hamlet, Sir Laurence Olivier or Sir 
John Gielgud? Very often the  conclusion is that  various interpretations can 
each offer  new  insights into the role. We all benefit from being able to 
compare, and it  sharpens our sensibility.

In puppetry in the 1930s  Eugene  O'Neill's "Emperor Jones"  was performed by 
Jero Magon on the east  coast, and by Ralph Chesse on the west coast. I 
wonder if anyone got to  see both productions?

Can you imagine Phillip Huber, Ronnie Burkett,  David Simpich, Basil Twist, 
Joe Cashore all on the same  program?


----- Original Message ----- 
From:  "Gregory Ballora" <>
To:  <>
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 11:46  AM
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Another Remarkable Video- Juggler's  Smackdown

Having watched both videos, and also having spent  time
with jugglers in the past, (their conventions make
ours look mighty  tame) I think there is an excellent
lesson here in knowing your audience.  The best thing
Chris Bliss did was to pick that song and perform to
it.  To me, his performance was like a meditation on
the song using 3 balls. I  loved it. The other guy,
Jason, is a phenomenal juggler, but most of what  he
does is beyond the average Joe's ability to
comprehend. Hence, Chris'  ability to time his catches
to the music is more moving to me. I can get  it. His
"awkwardness" read more as struggle, and worked with
the  music.  Jason, on the other hand, is also amazing,
and if he had been  taped on the same stage, with the
same audience, he would also have gotten  a great
response, BUT he never would have come up with the
idea in the  first place. That is the key.

As puppeteers, I am sure we all have been  to puppet
shows and been amazed that the audience liked the show
as much  as they did. We don't have the Beginner's Mind
anymore. So there is that  struggle between pushing the
art forward, while still including the  audience that
isn't as sophisticated as us "professionals".

Thanks  to you both Diane and Dan for bringing the
videos to our attention. I love  to read the debate
about other art forms. I am not so attached, so  I
learn more.


--- Daniel McGuire  <> wrote:

> I don't have a dog in this  fight between these two
> jugglers. (and I
> wasn't trying to  one-up Diane, who posted the Chris
> Bliss link). I must
> say  that as an observer, I find the whole idea of
> aesthetic
>  "smackdowns" highly amusing. I am trying to think of
> other examples  -
> one that stopped me cold a few years ago was the
> headline of  a NYTimes
> obit:
> "Remembering De Kooning as the 'guy to  beat'"
> and this meme was repeated, later, on PBS's  "The
> News Hour":
> "And De Kooning, himself, said  painting is a way of
> living, and he was
> just doing what came  naturally to him. It's also
> interesting that you
> mentioned  that he was called the American Picasso
> because in
> formulating  the abstract expressionist style they
> said De Kooning is
> the  guy to beat. And he set out to beat Picasso."
> I imagine some  kind of donnybrook taking place over
> at the Guggenheim,
> with  De Kooning and Picasso locked in mortal combat,
>  beating the  crap
> out of each other as they roll round on the
> spiral-ramp  gallery. "Team
> America" did a good send-up of the absurdity of  the
> whole idea of
> aesthetic competition in its treatment of a  kind of
> "acting duel"
> between Alex Baldwin and the character  of Gary
> Johnston.
> "Shakespeare in Love" had a humorous  scene of
> one-upmanship between
> Christopher Marlowe and the  bard.
> I'm trying to think of other examples,  particularly
> as they pertain to
> puppetry. The "Bruce Schwartz"  character in "Being
> John Malkovitch" had
> a rival, who created  a giant Emily Dickenson puppet.
> Bruce called is a
> "gimmick".  Any others come to mind? C'mon - who
> among us will deny the
>  hilarity?
> But seriously, in the world of Hip-Hop there  are
> some legendary,
> brilliant verbal freestyle battles  between
> Supernatural, Craig G and
> Juice, captured in the film  "Freestyle: The Art of
> the Rhyme. The film
> Rize documents some  breathtaking "krunk" and
> "clowning" dance
>  competitions.
> And this is a Good Thing. It has certainly  does
> wonders for promoting
> the form and the leading  practitioners.
> The fact remains I never gave a thought to  the
> aesthetics of juggling,
> and didn't really appreciate the  technical
> challenge, until I read
> about this dust-up. Now I'm  intrigued by the world
> of juggling. Also a
> Good  Thing.
> By the way - I pity the fool who challenges my
>  puppetry skills.
> Cheers,
> Dan  McGuire
> On Mar 23, 2006, at 3:20 PM,  Freshwater Pearls
> Puppetry wrote:
> > Regarding the  second video:
> >
> > Jason Garfield, apparently, is a  technically
> advanced juggler. What a
> > shame he could only  prove that to himself by
> belittling someone else.
> >
>  > Chris Bliss's performance is transcendant. Jason
>  Garfield's
> > performance is a sneer.
> >
> > Just  my opinion.
> >
> > Regards,
> > Diane
>  >
> >

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